The Google phone creates wireless upheaval

The Google phone is inching closer to reality, with wireless handhelds running Google Inc. applications and operating software expected in the first half of 2008, several industry analysts said today.

Some see Google’s model as revolutionary in the U.S., where nearly all customers buy their cellular phones from a wireless carrier and are locked into a contract with that carrier. But Google’s entry could signal a more open system where a customer buys the Google phone and then chooses a carrier, they noted.

The Wall Street Journal today cited unnamed sources and said that Google is expected to announce software within two weeks that would run on hardware from other vendors. The Google phone is expected to be available by mid-2008. The company did not comment.

Last week at the semiannual CTIA show in San Francisco, several analysts said they had heard rumors that Google would be offering software to Taiwan-based device maker High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) for the Google phone.

Today, Gartner Inc. analysts Phillip Redman said the rumor was still that the Google phone “is coming from HTC for next year, [with] 50,000 devices initially.”

HTC could not be reached for immediate comment.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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